Playing In a Band - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly…

I know that there were a couple “Band” threads started here, and I’ve even posted on them BUT, none of them talked about or shared experiences relating to all aspects of playing with one….

Although I did play with several as a guitar player, after taking the B2B course back in 2019, I managed to jump back in with four strings and two feet at a ripe “old” age of…. “Retired”… to see how I might manage as an old fart and all…. Well, here’s a bit if what I experienced….

First off, the B2B course helped a lot as far as learning the fundamentals of playing bass…. Having had experience playing guitar in bands was also a plus, BUT, having been away from the band scene for several years was a real eye opener for me….

I quickly realized that in the three bands that I played with since taking up bass that I was ALWAYS the “oldest” member if the group…. Even though my “mind” keeps saying, “You’re one young-ass, cool as shit dude, and age don’t matter”,…… these youngn’s are kinda like I was 10-20 years ago and can “Slam, Jam, and Thank ya Mam” WAY more than my 70 year old bones can keep up with…. Oh, to be young again!!!:crazy_face::rofl:

Secondly, I realized with all three bands, they all still had day jobs and used the band scene as their “escape” from the daily grinds of life…. Me, I’m retired (have been for 10 years) and have all sorts of “escapes” that I enjoy already,…. Like “Doing what I wanna do”… Whenever I want to….:grin::grin:

Third, I just don’t put up with “Shit” no more…. Yea, drinking beer, whiskey, smoking a little weed and all is all cool, but…… damn, been there - done that…. Guess I just “Grew Up a bit”…

So there’s the “Bad”….

Here’s the good…. Playing with a group is the MOST cool thing to do!! Playing with other musicians is like nothing else and really brings out a feeling second to none…. It is the most satisfying enjoyment in life,…. that damn… is right up there with…. “SEX”…:rofl::rofl::rofl:

Then there’s the UGLY…. “PERSONALITIES”…. Holy crap,…. Granted, mine ain’t the greatest, but throw in several others (lead singer, lead guitarist, drummer, etc) and you either got a perfect recipe for a gourmet meal, or the fixin’s for a roadside IED….

Anyway. I’m sure there are other “Good, Bad, Ugly” experiences out there that we can all learn from…. For me, I’ve managed to be able to at least still fill in and play with (right now just one) of the bands I’ve played with which keeps me involved…. Kinda the way I like it…. I may be “Old”… but I’m not dead… Yet….:rofl::rofl::rofl:. Besides, I got a lot if chores to do around the ild homestead!!!

Okay,…. I’m done…. Time to have some FUN…. Think I’ll go split some wood for the fire pit…:rofl::rofl:

Keep On Thumpin’!


Could not agree more about playing with others.
This sounds so familiar but not sure I agree with the sex thingy :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:


Hi Lanny,

Great to hear you’re having fun out there. I’m currently not in a real band setting. Instead, I have access to two jam sessions, one of which has a pretty good singer (or good, pretty singer?). I am also the “oldest” band member as it happens, although I have a couple of decades to go until I match you! :smiley:

GOOD - Being so appreciated as a bassist! The singer said, for example, “Now we have a bass, we’re a real band!!”

BAD - I now sound like all the cliches: “Can you at least tell me the chords?” “Can I turn myself up?” “I can try to simplify this part.” “Oh, Red Hot Chili Peppers? Totally.”

UGLY - Playing root notes for two hours. Bad drummers (too loud, out of time). People taking apart the practice room bass to fix guitars. Playing a ski-slope bass with dead strings.

I’m excited to hear everyone else’s opinions!


I get this. I even wrote about it in my introduction on the Introduce Yourself thread. When it all comes together, there must be some similar endorphin rush that happens. It’s a lot like a “runner’s high”.


Great comments @Antonio! I have to agree that all the groups I’ve played based with did appreciate having a bass player - even though most of the time they think all we need to do is play those “Root Notes”… I played in one group for a while where the lead guitarist had a habit of playing my bass lines on his Gibson - “Gimme Three Steps” comes to mind here… Always kinda pissed me off cause he’d always ham it up out front playing those really cool bass riffs as crazy wild lead guitar riffs… All he wanted me to do was simply hit the roots…

Oh, and those drummers who can’t keep time… Yup!! Did have one drummer that would NOT plat unless he used a click… One of the best drummers I ever played with… Always in time…


So true @eric.kiser!! YES!! Even though I’m not a “Runner”,… however, as a VN Vet, I can relate to the “High” part though… :crazy_face: :crazy_face:


I’m in a band that’s been going for about 3 years at a guess. Had a small (4) amount of gigs. Ok, let’s see.

Good - we all really gel together when we hear something we like. And the great thing is, no matter who comes up with something - if one of us like the way it’s going, then as a general rule, everyone else likes it too. This really bloody helps, as all of you are always playing music you really like. No covers - we just do our own stuff, so there’s not really a point where anyone goes, “oh, not this one again, I don’t like it”.

We’re similar ages - I’m 50, the eldest, drummer is 46 I think, and guitarist and his synth playing wife are 47 and 48 respectively. While we’re past the spring chickens stage, we do have a good laugh and have some beers and go to the pub afterwards to kick back after each practice.

We all get on and are friends out of the band, so it’s a social thing as well as the music.

The bad -

Guitarist, while a great guitarist, and his missus often argue about which bits she or he should do. Me and the drummer try and help out, but generally, it’s a better idea to let them get on with it. Ah well, c’est la vie.

The ugly -

The guitarist (Again!) rushes a bit with equipment. What I mean by that is, if something isn’t working properly, he’ll yank out leads etc until he finds what the problem is. The problem with that, is that we’ve blown a driver in a PA speaker from him overloading it, along with an amp and a synth has got issues now from massive pops in the studio. That’s annoying.

So overall, mainly positive - but you always have a few foibles that you have to accept I guess.

Least it’s still going!! :smiley:


This is really cool @quadfather… I think maybe being somewhat in the same age group sorta helps… Being able to enjoy each others company is also a plus… Sounds like y’all have fun playing together…

Visualizing this in my head make me laugh… :joy: :joy: The lead guitarist in one group I played in was the same way… Must be a “Lead Guitarist” thing or something… “If I can’t fix it, I’ll screw it all up so bad that no one can!!”… :rofl: :rofl:


Yeah, we’re at the stage where we do let ourselves go a bit, but it’s ON OUR TERMS! can’t be doing with faff at this age, and it’s a pretty close knit group. The guitarist and his wife often pop to mine and we sometimes have a noodle on a synth or a guitar/bass etc quite regularly, so while we do work hard on the songs, it’s in a kind of relaxed environment.

Haha, yeah, he’s a bloody nightmare with leads and pops in the studio! It drives me up the wall, but we get by. It’ll be the same this Friday, you see!!


Most ambiguous line ever :stuck_out_tongue:

Great thread, @Lanny - I might chime in with my own band experience later, but, in a way, they are not so dissimilar from what you guys have experienced.

Suffice it to say for now, it is indeed a blessing to find people who you can get along with and with whom you can share the joy of making music together :smile:


Im expecting this thread to consistently be this…

The Good - Playing music
The Bad - People
The Ugly - People



My brother and I played with a group for 26 gigs. (Me on bass and him on lead guitar.) Both of us together made only 700 for those gigs. The group leader would always say, “these are free, exposure gigs.” We were young, so we did not care too much since my parents were content for the experience we were getting. Anyway, my dad started poking around with some venues about how much musicians were paid, and we found out the group had been holding out on us. The group found out about my dad talking to venues and they fired us.

I told this story to the members of a veteran band that I often sub in when their bassist is out, and they said, “welcome to rock and roll.”

So, my brother and I took singing lessons, found a drummer, and played 50 gigs in 2022. The other band played 4. (We were pretty un-replaceable.) (we are 16, 20, and 32 years old.)


Looking forward to your experiences @joergkutter… Every experience is a bit different in it’s own ways…


HAHAHA @eric.kiser… Sounds like your past experiences stem from having fun playing music with some really UGLY/BAD people… :rofl: :rofl:


Really cool @NewGenBass!! $10k!! Y’all are kicking it!! Good on you!!.. That’s a really cool “GOOD”…

Most gigs down here only pay about $300 - $400 (plus any tips) for a 3-4 hour set… About $100 per person… Tips “sometimes” barely pay any bar tab… Add on load in and load out time, travel time, and the profits get down to basically “Hobby” income… Maybe a new set of strings, a new pedal, etc… Was never into it for the $$$, but am also not into it to go broke (at someone else’s gain) either - I can do that pretty well on my own… :grin: :grin:

I know all about those “Free” exposure gigs… One band I played with this past year took one down in Florida. It was at the BL’s friends campground off the Suwanee River. No pay - had to pay our own transportation, food, and camp fees… I didn’t complain until a month or so later when my wife and I had a get together pool/bar party here at our place and I asked the band to play for free for the occasion - even had free food and drinks for everyone… The B@$t@rd$ stood me up… One hour before we were set to play, the BL calls and says he and the drummer didn’t feel like loading up the trailer and weren’t gonna make it… Needless to say, I quit playing with that group… When I called and told them I was quitting them, I went to the practice facility to find all my gear stacked up outside in the lawn… Yea, that was an “UGLY”…


The good - the folks I play with…I’d like to think if we weren’t playing music we’d be doing something else together

The bad - typically this is where I’d put ego, tastes in music, but really it comes to the bad is playing for the gig and not playing for ourselves. The guitarist wants to play the 3rd song on the B side of a group that no one has ever heard of and instead we are playing a Bruno Mars tune or Maroon 5 because we’ve already played waaaay too many radio songs from our youth.

The ugly - the club environment in Japan (pay to play) and newly revealed guidance on base that I have to get a waiver from the Department of the Navy, because I’m a govt civilian, to get booked to play on base unless we are willing to play for free. This after we’ve spent months gearing up for a very profitable NYE show. Like an Admiral monitoring and controlling fleet movements of the most powerful Navy on the planet cares who gets booked on one of his bases…LOL…now that is a whole new level of absurdity.


A band can survive a bad singer, or a bad guitarist; a bad drummer is certain death.


So, it’s not a band, but just school of rock group classes. But the good is the same - playing music with other people. It’s the highlight of my week. I plan trips around Wednesday night band practice. I just enjoy it a lot.

The bad isn’t really bad - we’re all just students though. And it is like real estate - you want to be the worst house on the street. I prefer playing in groups where I’m the worst, because of the friendly peer pressure to improve. And I started out that way. But now 4 seasons in, with a lot of new people joining and some of the more experienced people moving on, I’m on the more skilled side within the group.

And there’s been no ugly (yet?) Things that have been awkward with other students or even teachers - I just write up to “I’m getting the full band/drama experience!”

About bad drummers…well, I convinced my wife to join and she chose drums, so I’ve got nothing more to say about the topic. Except to reiterate how great it is to get in the pocket with the drummer.


From what everything I’m reading, THIS is the number one “Plus” to playing in a band…. Having fun playing with other musicians is something that I do love, however after several practice sessions some peoples personalities start to surface (at least in my experiences) and thats when things kinda started to go south…. It’s refreshing to read about others who have had good relationships with band members…

I kinda think that for me at my age that most all the not so good experiences hinge from the fact that I’ve always been the outspoken “Crotchety Old Fart On Bass”…. :rofl::rofl::rofl:. Guess maybe that’s why I fit in better as a “fill in” at times - which for me is exactly where I like to be…… No commitments- just a “Free Bassist”…. Allegiance to NONE….:grin::grin::grin:


except for the drummer who is the guitarist daughter 17yrs old…the rest of us are 54, 62, 63…you want old and crochety…all of us run separate IT depts for the Navy on the same base where at some point we are all each other customers. Loud and long discussions about who’s team dropped the ball and made somebody elses team unscheduled work but at the end of the day it’s, “what do think about doing this song?” and the rest of it is just eye wash.